How Does Travel Nursing Work | 2023

Travel nursing has received numerous discussions recently and with well-substantiated motives. It’s a distinct alternative for nurses and has many benefits worth considering.

Suppose you’re thinking about what you can accomplish through this Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree offered by Concordia University, St. Paul.

In this case, you might be thinking about what exactly travel nursing is, how it can be used, and what advantages it could bring.

The field of travel nurses has recently seen unprecedented demand growth because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many nurses are participating in the fun since the prices are way too high for nurses who work as travel nurses.

Let’s discuss the functions of travel nursing and how obtaining your BSN can help you be successful in this field of work.

What Is a Travel Nurse?

Healthcare companies have staff shortages, and they need to recruit travel nurses. How do you define a traveling nurse? Travel nurses work as temporary nurses in high-demand areas as professionals with impressive knowledge.

They are found in hospitals, clinics, medical centers, and other facilities, providing patients nationwide with high-quality medical care.

The COVID-19 virus has led to an unending shortage of staff and, in turn, a shortage of staff. Medical experts blame this situation on two major causes.

As CNN reports, nurses who are tired and demoralized have been going out and leaving at a faster rate than hospitals can hire new nurses.

Furthermore, many nurses are leaving their stable jobs to take on lucrative temporary assignments that pay as much as $5,000 per week via travel nurse organizations.

Students and professionals looking to make a career in this field are advised to investigate the responsibilities and roles of travel nurses.

They could also benefit from reading travel nurse tips and understanding the pay and job outlook.

Also Read: How to Use Nursing Pillow

History of the Travel Nurse

The business of travel nurses was first introduced in the 1970s to respond to the health-related contexts of the high census.

A high census happens whenever the quantity of clients at a healthcare facility rises over the number of staff members who can adequately care for them. The phrase “high census” implies that the facility is overwhelmed.

The expression “low census” refers to the scenario when the number of hospital patients is insufficient to employ the whole nursing staff. In the most basic sense, a low citizen means the facility is overstaffed for a specific time.

The 1970s saw a continuous nursing shortage in warm southern states, such as Florida and Georgia, attracting nurses from states to the north during winter.

The snowbirds’ seasonal surge attracted the nurses, who migrated to the south during winter months to escape the cold winters in northern states.

In the beginning, arrangements for nurses were not official. Nurses were able to travel to meet the demands. However, they were employed as permanent employees. They would be fired at the close of the season.

Because these nurses did not have an agreement specific to their clinics or hospitals, they could not provide accommodations or extra wages.

This was an excellent alternative for hospitals in states with warmer climates that could not afford to hire the same number of employees throughout the year.

Today, professionals fit a similar travel nurse description. Staffing companies usually employ them for healthcare that specializes in finding temporary workers across the United States.

They receive a share of the money hospitals are required to pay a nurse payment. In return, they provide secured accommodation, competitive nurse salaries, and transportation for free to nurses who have new job opportunities for their travel nurses.

Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

The field of travel nursing has various benefits and challenges to traditional nursing. It is advantageous to start in the field with a good understanding.

One nurse who travels, Kallsen, who works with infants in the NICU, recalls her first experiences as an international nurse in the Country like this:

Pros Of Travel Nursing

You can have a complete, significant experience in a brief time.

You can try your hand at various workspaces and equipment to ensure your work won’t be tedious.

It can add worth to your resume.

The compensation for travel nurses is at least four times as much pay as traditional nurses.

They offer various advantages and perform most of the work through the use of.

Ability to identify the destinations you will travel to and the assignments you’ll be assigned.

Possibility of taking time off in the course of the two contract periods.

Drawbacks Of Travel Nursing

If you move to a new location, you’ll have a lengthy learning process to master as you become acquainted with the hospital’s procedures and guidelines.

It’s not an excellent choice for families with children at school or needing to stay home.

The relationships are generally short-lived, and effectively establishing connections with colleagues isn’t easy.

You could be in a location that isn’t ideal or in a hospital. Therefore you’ll need to be patient and finish the paperwork before you can move.

The presence of nurses who travel increases hospital expenses. Nurses tend to leave their homes, which leads to a greater demand for local nurses, which can increase the cost of local medical facilities.

Traveling nursing isn’t suitable for all. It’s best for those who can live without a significant connection to any place. If you’re interested in traveling in this area, It has many advantages worth looking into.

How to Become a Travel Nurse?

Once you have a basic understanding of what a travel nurse does and the responsibilities of a travel nurse in the present and will be short, you could be interested in knowing what it takes to be a travel nurse.

The steps required to become a travel nursing assistant are the following:

  • Acquiring the ASN degree or BSN degree
  • After passing your NCLEX to be a registered nurse (RN)
  • Experiential learning gained through the work
  • Being licensed
  • The process of signing a contract with an agency for staffing travel nurses
  • Earn a Nursing Degree

Anyone who completed a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree from a school that the AANP accredits can be a travel nurse accredited by the AANP. There are many ways to meet the educational requirements:

Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) certification for nurses beginning their careers.

LPN shift to BSN program that bridges registered practical or vocational nurses, as also licensed paramedics

LPN until ASN level for registered nurses

You Must Pass the Nclex Test to Become a Nclex-Certified Registered Nurse

When you have earned an associate’s degree or bachelor’s in nursing, the next step towards becoming a traveling nurse would be passing the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as the NCLEX-RN exam.

Candidates can become registered nurses if they can pass the NCLEX test and satisfy the standards of the board that governs state nurses. They need to start building up nursing experience and pursue RN positions in the field.

Get Experience In A Specialization.

Nursing professionals interested in travel nursing should research and find out about the specialties they are attracted to while also working full-time as seasoned nurses who will be employed in unique nursing settings for nurses on the move.

For example, a travel nurse not employed in an intensive neonatal health unit won’t be qualified to be a candidate for NICU posts. This is the situation for all specialties.

Attain Licensure

To be a registered nurse, one is required to have a valid license within the Country in which they work. The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) allows RNs to hold an official nursing license valid in various states.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing keeps track of states that are members of the NLC.

If you’re an expert in one of the states that is part of the NLC, additional licensing may not be required to become an official travel nurse.

Travel nurses seeking work that is not part of NLC require separate authorization from the state(s) they intend to work in.

What to Expect As a Travel Nurse

What is it that makes a skilled work as a nurse on a trip? Travel nurses are often assigned duties in healthcare facilities that are not adequately staffed.

The hospitals expect them to fulfill the roles of a regular nurse without context to deliver their services. Nurses who work as travel nurses need to be comfortable working in a fast-paced noisy, chaotic environment.

For example, a travel nurse could be assigned to a poorly staffed hospital for neonatal patients.

The nurses there may lack the capacity or resources to provide information about the hospital’s charting system or specific patients. Nurses on the road may have to collect the data during their duties.

The contract of a travel nurse is to fill temporary jobs. The contract can last a few days, weeks, or perhaps longer. After the contract, Travel nurses can extend their stay at the exact location or move to a different place and possibly.

The length of their contracts could vary; however, most assignments last between 8 and 26 weeks.

Sure, nurses who travel get the opportunity to work for an indefinite period they enjoy and want to find permanent employment. However, the majority remain on the road and work at home.

You’ll have an excellent job that offers many benefits as a traveling nurse. Here are some benefits of working as a travel nurse:

Assistance in obtaining work visas as well as passports (if you are working internationally)


  • The location of your choice
  • Comparable pay
  • Free housing
  • Paying more than the median for nurses.
  • Vision, dental, and medical insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • The decision to choose the shifts and hours of work
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Travel Nursing Tips and Personal Characteristics

Travel nurses should acquire the capacity to master the latest technologies rapidly, accept criticisms with grace, and quickly adapt to changes.

Personal Traits That Can Be Helpful to Nurses Who Travel:

Ability to grasp concepts quickly. Travel nurses have been employed in traditional environments. They must, however, be able to draw upon their vast knowledge in adjusting to the new facilities for healthcare.

Certain healthcare facilities are distinct from the standard practices and techniques they are familiar with. Travel nurses have to adopt innovative techniques and new technologies rapidly.

The determination to endure challenging circumstances. Moving between states and becoming”the “new nurses” frequently while caring for patients with challenging conditions presents numerous challenges. Nurses who travel need to be ready for these challenges.

Travel nurses can make their schedules with the employers employed. For example, travel nurses might be required to work for 9 weeks in the opposite region of the Country and then take a break for one month.

The ability to work in various situations. Travel nurses have to be able to work with various care teams, particularly when the organizations and teams don’t have the resources to function effectively.

A robust support system of support. Travel nurses often stay away from family and close friends for extended periods to perform temporary assignments.

A group or individual of people who serve as a hearing ear is vital to be able to endure the stressful job of a seasoned travel nurse.

Navigating Crises as a Travel Nurse

The need for nurses to travel has increased following the pandemic. The issue of burnout among clinicians continues to be a concern in the field of healthcare.

A Recent National Academy of Medicine report states that between 35% and 54 percent U.S. nurses and physicians are suffering from burnout due to stress from pandemics. Burnout symptoms include:

The exhaustion resulting from emotional stress

High depersonalization (expressed in the cynicism of health care or the healthcare system as a whole)

A feeling of unsatisfactory accomplishment at work

In the ordinary course of things, The American Nurses Association’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation study found that, at a minimum, 70% of U.S. nurses said they were either totally or firmly convinced that they placed the health of their patients as well as safety ahead of their health.

The additional pressures of the pandemic, like the unusually high rate of mortality among patients, the absence of personal safety equipment, the absence of rigorousness in preparation for the spread of the disease, and the conflicting public response to the vaccination of nurses have added weight to the pandemic to a new level.

In the wake of numerous nursing burnouts, hospitals, and healthcare facilities have turned to nurses on travel to fill the gap. Because of the adversity in staff shortages, hospitals have been paying hefty fees for the highly-needed staff.

Work With a Travel Nursing Agency

The last step to becoming a travel nursing assistant is to join an agency for travel nurses.

The benefits offered by each company that staffs will vary, including their partnerships with specific hospitals and healthcare networks, specific geographic regions, or nursing specialties.

Salary and Benefits for Travel Nurses

Pay increases are among the main benefits of traveling nurses, especially recently. According to Indeed, nurses who travel can earn pay as much as six figures in a year.

The old pay scale was two times the rate of employees. Nowadays, however, the cost of travel is nearly four times higher than staff nurses, which makes it an extremely lucrative way to earn a salary as a nurse.

Kallsen says the pay rate is “absolutely crazy,” saying it will be “drawing lots of nurses to travel as it’s impossible to deny this possibility.”

Many travel nurse organizations provide various benefits, like health insurance and a 401(k) plan, with the assurance of an insurance match and the possibility of paid vacation time when sick.

They also offer financial assistance for those who wish to continue their education or pursue an advanced level. They offer vacation time between jobs or help with the costs of traveling. They also typically provide housing or expense allowance.

When Can I Become A Travel Nurse?

It was traditionally considered an occupation that should only be considered once you have been an experienced nurse for a few years. The standard is that companies need two years of work experience.

However because of the high need for nurses at hospitals, recently graduated nurses may begin their careers earlier.

Every job, medical facility, or nursing facility has specific specifications. Some employers hire travel nurses with only one year of experience.

Even if they don’t hire you for however long they’d like to work with them, they may be able to collaborate with you and willing to learn from your experiences.

This means that within the coming year or two following the completion of your BSN at Concordia St. Paul, you may be able to begin your journey in this field called travel nursing.

How Do I Find an Agency and Apply?

Consider the different travel nursing firms’ details before choosing if you’re considering a trip. They collaborate with various hospitals so that you can see the available jobs at each agency.

There are social media where you can interact with other nurses and review various agencies and hospitals, which will help you select the right choice for you.

If your position proves unsatisfactory, be aware that it’s just a temporary job that you may change hospitals or agencies later.

See Country as Travel Nurse

Traveling for patient care could provide opportunities for nurses who can travel. They work for organizations that recruit R.N.s for various roles throughout the United States and abroad.

Nurses prepared to step up and leave their nursing roles and move into high-demand fields across the Country can have rewarding careers.

The constant nursing shortage has created a problem for hospitals and clinics to keep their requirements for staff under control.

Travel nurses can help with the ongoing staffing problems and fill in the gaps when nurses are away. Travel nurses don’t have to work in various states.

Some nurses work in local hospitals that have insufficient staff capacity.

For nurses in the process of becoming or planning to become nurses who wish to learn from different perspectives meet new people and discover new locations in addition to the desire to develop an understanding of the system of healthcare across different areas, becoming an international nurse can be an exciting option for career advancement.


Who Can Become A Travel Nurse?

Registered nurses usually have 12- 18 months of hospital-based RN experience in their area of expertise. The specialization is the nursing-specific institution’s requirements, and the expertise required may be more significant.

There are nursing positions available for travel in many specialties. However, specific specialties, like ICU and oncology, are the most sought-after. Nurses with advanced certifications, such as CNMs, NPs, or CRNAs, can also accept jobs in travel.

How Long Are Travel Nursing Assignments?

The average nursing nurse’s job working on the road is 13 weeks. But anything between 8 and 26 weeks is normal. Hospitals will often give you to renew your contract if you accept. They are referred to as extensions.

Extensions are usually scheduled for the last 3 or five weeks of employment. However, you should speak with your hiring manager if you’d like to remain longer. You don’t have to wait until your company contacts you.

Where Can Travel Nurses Go?

There’s a wide variety of travel nursing jobs available throughout the Country, but the job’s location will depend on the demand for staff. While vacation destinations such as Hawaii or California might be the perfect location for many new travel nurses starting their career journey, they are also highly sought-after and may not offer the same pay.

Can Travel Nurses Bring Their Families?

Imagine you’re a nursing professional traveling with kids or pets; no problem! You’re still allowed to go on assignments. Some travel nurse organizations permit nurses with families to take their beloved relatives on assignments. Your recruiter will work with you in determining specific details.

Can I Travel With Another Travel Nurse?

Yes! It’s not uncommon to see nurses who take part in the same job travel. They may be working in the same hospital or city or living in the same apartment. Even a complex is feasible.

Sharing rooms with nurses allows you to travel with them and helps reduce the cost of living. Also, it is possible to travel together as nurses. Find out how one couple accomplished it, and get their tips to other nurses’ couples.

How Long Will There Be Demand for Travel Nurses?

Although the need for nurses traveling during the pandemic has decreased, there will still be a requirement for nurses who travel. There is a shortage of nurses throughout the Country, which is still a problem. However, the amount of nurses who are taking on nurses retiring or quitting the workforce isn’t enough.

Furthermore, natural disasters and emergencies are common and require a flurry of nurses on the move that is available at the fastest notice.

How Do I Become A Travel Nurse?

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for becoming a certified travel nurse. You can also complete this application to be connected with as many as four organizations.

We’ve joined forces with the top recruiting companies, whose staffers work hard to find you the most desirable opportunities.

Is It Worth Being A Travel Nurse?

It’s a highly lucrative career once you’ve counted everything, including housing, health insurance for travel nurses, and a competitive salary.

Tax time is upon us, and you can take advantage of various tax benefits that nurses can take advantage of when they travel. Be aware that the deductions you receive are subject to change based on where you are.

How Does Travel Nursing Pay Work?

Travel nurses’ pay is typically described as a blended rate. It means that a particular portion of the wage for a travel nurse can be tax-deductible. The other part of the pay of traveler nurses is paid as meals/incidentals, which are tax-free, and housing stipends. If these rates are combined, and a rate is set, it will be the hourly rate of travel nurse wages.

How Long Can A Travel Nurse Stay In One Place?

How long can a travel nurse be in one place? To be a qualified traveling nurse, their work must be temporary. Thus, nurses who travel must stay in one place for at least 12 months. This illustrates IRS guidelines for allowing tax benefits and other obligations.

Do Travel Nurses Choose Where They Go?

Do travel nurses have the ability to choose the destinations they travel to? A. Yes. You can select your home state hospital or healthcare facility.

Do Travel Nurses Get Housing Paid For?

Most agencies offer travelers an allowance for housing to help with the cost of their housing. This is in the package of benefits.

How Often Do Travel Nurses Have To Move?

The average nursing trip is 13 weeks long. Thus, a travel nurse employed regularly is likely to move 4 times in a calendar year (52 weeks over a year calendar/13 is 4). But 13 weeks isn’t typical. Specific nursing assignments may last up to 26 weeks, while some could be as short as four weeks.

Can You Quit A Travel Nurse Contract?

Nurses can Cancel Contracts.

Travel nurses can terminate their contracts. However, it’s not recommended. Most reasons travel nurses can’t work include medical emergencies in the family or personal emergency facilities, which aren’t following the schedule or time off, and unsafe working conditions.

What Does A Travel Nurse Schedule Look Like?

Individual contracts and hiring companies differ, but most work-from-home positions require a 40-hour week of work. They could be five eight-hour, four-hour, three 12-hour, or four 10-hour shifts, but the hours and times differ based on the particular facility. The typical contract starts each day with an orientation that may last a few days.